MXGP Race 2
MXGP 2022
Round 17

Team HRC's Tim Gajser wins in exquisite style in France

fr St Jean d'Angely

The penultimate round of this year’s FIM World Motocross Championship visited the fast hillside circuit of St. Jean d’Angely, France this weekend, as the gate dropped on the MXGP of Charente Maritime.

Team HRC's Tim Gajser wins in exquisite style in France

Although Team HRC’s Tim Gajser was crowned 2022 MXGP World Champion last weekend in Finland, racers always like to win, so for the team and for Gajser it was business as usual.

In MXGP race one ‘Tiga’ got off to a good start and rounded lap one in third place. The fast paced and challenging French circuit proved to be a big challenge to make passes this weekend and every position gained was a battle of attrition. Tim slipped into second place on lap four and went on to challenge hard for the race win. Despite a last lap charge he crossed the line less than a second away from the win, but proved his pedigree with a champion’s class performance. 

Australian Mitch Evans also had a great start in moto one, starting lap one in fourth place and looking fast, strong and confident. He defended his position well throughout the race whilst under pressure from other riders. On lap 14 an unfortunate tip-over dropped Evans down to seventh where he again came under pressure from world-class MXGP competitors, but held onto his position to the end. 

Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández continued his progression back to fitness and full race speed today. After a fighting race one the Spaniard crossed the line in 12th place, still someway off his potential.

In the MX2 class Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Stephen Rubini had another tough GP this weekend. Although his laps time were quick, the Frenchman didn’t find his form in the qualifying race, which gave him a poor start-gate choice for Sunday’s motos. Despite this Rubini pushed up from 10th on lap to finish the race in eighth with hopes for improvement at his home GP in race two.

As the gate dropped for MXGP race two, Gajser and Evans didn’t quite get around the first turn in the leading group and gave themselves an unenviable task to push forward. Gajser drew first-blood and slammed his CRF450R into fourth place on lap two, but the excitement was left right until the end. Firstly, the Slovenian pushed into third and set about an effective flow and momentum that would prove to be both devastating and decisive for the race and the overall - and he really saved his best until last. Two magnificent last lap passes came one after another taking him from third to first. Not only did he win the race, but the five-time World Champion took the overall win to the delight of Team HRC and his growing fan following.

Evans had another frustrating moto the second time out today. He struggled to find his flow and eventually came home in 11th, giving him ninth overall. Meanwhile Rubén Fernández faired a little better in the second race today, firstly with a slightly better start which gave him a good flow to bring it home it ninth for 11th overall.

Stephen Rubini’s illness woes continued in MX2 moto two and although he started the race, his stomach pain and discomfort was too severe to continue. Although he didn’t finished the race, the low rider numbers meant he scored two points from moto two and finished the day in 13th overall. Stephen will seek medical advice this week to try to identify the cause of the pain.

The final round for this year’s season visits the Afyonkarahisar circuit for the BitCi MXGP of Turkey in two week’s time. 

Tim Gajser
Tim Gajser 243
Team HRC
Wow, what a last couple of laps! I worked hard all moto to try and find places to make the passes and on the last lap I knew I had to get it done. Winning this overall, after last weekend winning the championship is just such a nice feeling. I came in with the pressure gone and I think it showed in my riding this weekend. Of course, it wasn’t easy because this track really didn’t offer up too many passes but I feel like this result really reminded everyone just how fast I can go. A big thank you to the team and everyone for such a good weekend. Since winning the title last weekend, I have received so many messages of support and I am just really happy with how everything is going. I can’t wait for Turkey!

Mitch Evans
Mitch Evans 43
Team HRC
Another weekend where I’m disappointed with how the motos went. I was in a strong position in race one, staying in fourth place for the majority of the race and just a mistake near the end dropped me to seventh. I feel like I’m putting a bit too much pressure on myself to get on the podium, so I just need to focus a bit more on just taking each lap as it comes. Race two wasn’t as easy and another small mistake meant I dropped for seventh to 10th, and in the end, I finished 11th. Of course, I want more, and that’ll be the aim when we head to final round in Turkey in two week’s time.

Rubén Fernández
Rubén Fernández 70
Honda 114 Motorsports
It was a difficult weekend again for me. I still don’t have the rhythm, speed or the fitness, but I do feel like I improved over the weekend and especially in the second moto I started to feel better. In the first moto I had some slow first laps and eventually managed to settle into a rhythm. Then in the second moto I rode even better but just struggled to maintain my full strength at the end of the race. After the race in Finland I wasn’t feeling so good. That was definitely a tough one, but this weekend were better results since I came back from my recent injury and this is something positive. 

Stephen Rubini
Stephen Rubini 38
Team Ship to Cycle Honda Motoblouz SR
It was a tough weekend for me, but I was expecting much better of course. I had a good free practice and timed practice, but I had a bad start in the qualifying race and a crash. I tried to come back, but it’s really hard to find extra speed and make passes on this track. 
I had a better feeling on the track on Sunday and I had a good start from an outside gate position in race one and made some passes, eventually finishing in P8. After the moto though I started to have some strong stomach pain. I tried to race in moto two but the pain was too strong so I had to retire. I will try to get an examination tomorrow.

Gordon Crockard
Gordon Crockard
Honda Motor Co. Ltd
Best part of this event was our 2022 Champion proving his title by winning the overall with an amazing race two performance to win. Sheer brilliance from Tim.
It was so encouraging to see the pace of Mitch Evans being yet again strong enough for the front positions. Unfortunately he did make mistakes that resulted in crashes and lost positions. But he was fast, which holds value.
With no time for recovery from injury, our other bruised, battered and pain suffering riders struggled through as warriors but simply could not overcome the handicap of their injured bodies.
With one round of the season to go, there will be relief for those hurting and yet battling on.
The weekend break before Turkey definitely will be welcome and help some, so we can still be hopeful that the championship can end positively in two week’s time.

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